“In her current role as vice president, Harris is a professional support act, in a position that has both made her more visible and given her less of a distinctive voice.”
Thus reads a part of a lengthy profile on Vice President Kamala Harris by New York Magazine, which highlights the ups and downs of the Vice President’s career, and ties them into how she is and is seen today.
The article tries to piece together not only the different aspects of Harris’ performance as a public official, especially during her time as second-in-command of the country, both in public and behind the scenes, but also seemingly seeks to answer the question of why the vice president isn’t – at least in the public’s view – the best choice for an alternative to President Joe Biden. Given concerns over Biden’s age, which is affirmed by his many public gaffes and flubs, Harris’ position as vice president is much more often thrust into the spotlight. So often, in fact, that Republicans have not been shy in saying that a vote for Biden in 2024 is likely a vote for Harris as president.
What the article does is show Harris’s tendency to be much more reactionary – which could stem from her experience as a prosecutor – as well as point to her seeming comfort zone of being in the background. Another article, from the Atlantic, says that the Vice President is an intensely private individual, which is seemingly a disconnect from the very public nature of her current position.
The Kamala Harris Track Record
Based on her track record, as well as her general approach to things, the vice president seems to do very well when addressing current events and issues when they crop up, such as her strong stance on issues like abortion and women’s rights as well as gun control, are proof of that. But she seems to do less admirably when it comes to looking at issues from a larger perspective, possibly due to her lack of legislative experience – at least compared to previous Democratic presidents like Biden and Obama. At least based on the New York Times Magazine interview, Harris likes to delve into specifics, even when answering questions and especially when addressing criticism; it isn’t a bad thing per se, but it seems a little like micromanagement – a less than desirable trait to have not only in a regular corporate setting, even much less so when one has to run an entire country.
Speaking of less than desirable management, Harris is also plagued with high staff turnovers – a trend that seems to have persisted beyond the birth pains of her first few months in Washington D.C. A 2021 Politico article described the office of the vice president as “not a healthy environment”, pointing to both current and former staffers that say that “people are thrown under the bus from the very top” and that the workspace is filled with “short fuses” and an “abusive environment.”
No one doubts or trivializes the accomplishments of Vice President Harris, but her general approach to things seems to point away from a successful run at the White House if ever it does happen. Her low poll numbers – she continues to be one of the least popular vice presidents in the history of the U.S. – can’t be for nothing.
The American people feel, somehow, that while she may be great and accomplished, Kamala Harris just isn’t built to sit in the Oval Office. For now, at the very least.
Tim Ramos has written for various publications, corporations, and organizations – covering everything from finance, politics, travel, entertainment, and sports – in Asia and the U.S. for more than 10 years.